News & Politics

DC Officially Has America’s Best Park System

Washington moved to the top in the Trust for Public Land's annual survey.

Boulder Bridge at Rock Creek Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The Trust for Public Land released its annual ranking of city park systems yesterday, and this year DC has taken the top spot. Scoring a total of 84.4 points out of 100, the District dethroned last year’s victor, Minneapolis. The addition of a new metric—which measures equity—is what pushed Washington to the top of the ParkScore index.

Five factors shape the report’s tabulations: resident distance from parks, size of parks, park spending per resident, extras such as basketball hoops and dog parks, and the newly added equity measurement, which looks at whether BIPOC residents are “equally likely to live within a 10-minute walk of a park as white residents.” DC scored high on access—98 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk from a park—and garnered a perfect 100 points on spending.

Arlington is also in the top five of the ParkScore index, earning fourth place with 79.6 points. Although the city nailed 100/100 on spending and scored higher than DC on access, the it lost points on park size and equity.

Take a look at how the cities stacked up:

Rank  City  ParkScore (Max: 100) 
1  Washington, DC  84.4 
2  St. Paul, MN  80.0 
3  Minneapolis, MN  79.7 
4  Arlington, VA  79.6 
5  Chicago, IL  77.2 
6  San Francisco, CA  76.3 
7  Irvine, CA  76.0 
8  Cincinnati, OH  75.9 
9  Seattle, WA  75.4 
10  Portland, OR  75.0 


Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.